A few more moments and I got to the place where I always try to get to, which is this: what am *I* doing with MY body?
Suddenly it was clear. I thought I was straight but I was crooked. I was bringing my outside shoulder forward and inward slightly. It was subtle. Not a visible thing but when I focused in I realized I was holding it that way and the tension was definitely there.
So instead of being looky or crooked, Keil Bay was actually compensating for MY crookedness.
I breathed in deep and softly let it out, allowing my entire outside shoulder to relax as I did so. He instantly straightened and suddenly we were moving along much more fluidly, with a nice big swing.
This is just the most recent example of this notion that seems to pop into our heads as riders - we need to FIX THE HORSE. When really all we need to do is FIX OURSELVES and the horse follows suit.
We've been having very lovely rides. We're still doing mostly walk with a little bit of trot, and I'm aiming to just be, without any kind of training agenda or real goals other than to make my body as straight as I can and watch and notice and feel how Keil Bay responds to that.
He's 25 years old and he has always known more than me about dressage and about harmony and schwung and gorgeous movement. I've made it a point to listen to him and celebrate what he teaches me, but I've also thrown in some exercises and done my share of trying to get him to do things in ways I thought were "right."
Finally, I am giving up that pursuit of moving up the levels or even thinking in terms of levels. I am just looking at my own body and trying to make it as relaxed and as straight and as quiet as possible. When I do that Keil Bay matches me and then he takes me further than I could ever take him even if I rode every day for the rest of my life. In truth, he's been there all the time, if I just get out of his way.
I've been wondering why we humans tend to think we need to fix things outside of ourselves instead of simply focusing on ourselves. I'm not sure. I suspect it's because we've become so caught up in thinking and doing and fixing that we've lost touch with our own body parts. It's nothing short of amazing to focus in and find a tightness you didn't even know was there. And when you breathe it out and let that tension go, wow. The whole world (and the horse you're riding) makes a huge and wonderful shift.
In otther news, we have a third cat sick with cytauxzoonosis. River, our rescue kit-meow who has had chronic health issues all of her young life, is now on the treatment protocol but here at home instead at the vet school. She''s fighting and hanging in there but I would so appreciate any healing thoughts and prayers you might send her way.
I wrote my September column at Talk2TheAnimals about healing circles and the power they have. Go read it here and tell me YOUR story about healing circles!! http://talk2theanimals.net/at-the-vets-office-healing-circles/